When ‘Chaise Longue’ appeared on several hundred Spotify playlists in the middle of last year the music sphere collectively dropped the glass bottle of diet coke they were cooly drinking and jaws fell open aghast at this witty, chic, new wave hit appearing out of the furthest reaches of nowhere, also known as the Isle of Wight. Built around a joke about saucily pulling the wool over the eyes of naive parents, delivered with unfussed, deadpan sexiness, the record grabbed the attention of everyone who gave even the vaguest fuck about guitar music and several tonnes of expectation found it’s way firmly onto Wet Leg’s icy shoulders. Creating a record under those conditions would be a task.
Thankfully, Wet Leg already had their self-titled debut in the can, so any mounting pressure remains to be fought with down the line, in a hopefully less urgent climate – their debut LP all conceived and committed to tape during a time the duo, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, decided to just create a band for fun and see what happens.
No wonder, then, that provocative fun, playfulness and allure are the order of the day here. Finding inspiration in French disco 12”s and Jane Birkin mashed into Talking Heads and Franz Ferdinand, Wet Leg create a mise en scène from a diverse pool of suave influence. If there’s a sun-drenched and swoonsome song about love, it’s peppered with reluctant cynicism. Rather than singing about dancing and nightlife, ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ is a grunge-lite whir about feeling over “getting off my stupid face” and obliterating already-made plans. ‘Angelica’ could be a sugar sweet rewrite of 90s MTV cartoon ‘Daria’s theme song turned into a tribute to the lead character of 70s horror movie ‘Carrie’.
For much of their self-titled debut, Wet Leg move away from the art school leanings of ‘Chaise Longue’ but if their lead single has a sister record it would be ‘Wet Dream’, an aloof and filthy description of some sleaze’s nocturnal imagination used in a misguided attempt at seduction, slipping in an awkward reference to Vincent Gallo’s divisive avant-garde film ‘Buffalo 66’ to get things steamy.
There are islands of sincerity where the spoken word haughtiness makes way for sung authenticity of ‘Convincing’ and ‘Loving You’ – the sincerity of the latter heightened by the blissfully venomous execution of the line “I don’t wanna meet your girlfriend, I hope you choke on your girlfriend” over echoey surf guitar. And then so much genuine disclosure of deep and painful feelings gets followed up by a song called ‘Ur Mum’, closely followed by ‘Piece of Shit’.
‘Supermarket’ is a discordant slacker rock attempt at Pavement covering Afroman’s salutation to getting too off your face to do anything constructive. Which acts as a satisfying set up to the record’s end piece as the Wet Leg girls declare a smart mantra on ‘Too Late Now’, an intense, building crescendo of a tune, “I don’t need no radio, no MTV, no BBC, I just need a bubble bath to send me on a higher path”. Outside of their world of indulgence, Nouvelle Vague and 70s pop, Wet Leg give very few serious fucks about much else. And may that last for a very long time!
Wet Leg’s self titled debut was released on 8th April 2022 and is available to buy and stream now. The group are also on a far reaching world tour of venues and festivals. Much of it is already sold out but it’s worth checking their site for the dates anyway – you might be lucky.
Have a look at the video for latest single ‘Ur Mum’ below: